Manly duo launch 2012 season
They were the centre of attention when they steered Manly to the 2011 Premiership, and on Wednesday night Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran return to the spotlight to officially launch the 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Season at Rugby League Central in Moore Park.
Just three years ago Foran and Cherry-Evans were making a name for themselves alongside each other for the Sea Eagles in the Toyota Cup. Both were named in the 2009 Toyota Cup team of the year, now they are the official face of rugby league.
The meteoric rise of Cherry-Evans in his debut season, culminating in a premiership, rookie of the year award and Four Nations berth for Australia was an amazing story in 2011, while the rise-and-rise of Foran continued as he cemented his status as not only one of the best young players in the game, but one of the most dangerous five-eighths as well.
It's easy to forget that Foran is just 21-years-old.
The Auckland born Sea Eagle already has three seasons of first-grade under his belt, boasting an impressive 67 per cent winning record, as well as seven Test appearances for New Zealand.
The young Asquith Magpies junior can now add a very unique and special accolade to that list; being bestowed the honour of launching the NRL season with partner in crime Cherry-Evans.
“It’s an honour to launch the 2012 NRL season and I feel very privileged,” Foran told NRL.com.
“Who would have thought when we were back playing together at half and five-eighth in the 20s that we would kick on to do it in the NRL and go on to win a Premiership.
“Last year was such a good one for myself, Daly and the boys.
“We are really excited about trying to defend our Premiership, but we know how tough that is going to be.”
A focus of the launch will be the NRL's new 2012 television commercial, with a powerful anthem backed by one of the biggest names in world entertainment Bon Jovi, who becomes only the third entertainer in Rugby League to carry an anthem into a second year.
The 2012 'Our House' campaign will broaden significantly to take in giant outdoor billboards, social media campaigns and a greater connection with the game's grass-roots clubs.
"Never has rugby league entered a season with so much to look forward to nor has it done so from such a position of strength," Mr Gallop said.
"It is a strength that comes from our clubs, our fans, our coaches, our referees, our volunteers, the communities who have supported rugby league for generations and, at the heart of it all, our players.
"It comes from the sort of community involvement that makes the All Stars a reality, that promotes literacy and leadership programs and which over the past 24 days has seen 350 players visit more than 115,000 school children across Australia and New Zealand.
"The moments showcased in the 'Our House' campaign – David Mead's amazing try, Akuila Uate's mesmerising attack, Ben Barba's defiance of gravity and Shaun Johnson's race to the line - these are things that can't be choreographed.
"They are memories that live with us for years because we sat there, we watched it and we still didn't think it was possible!
"If you haven't done so yet, go out and sign up as a member of your club; show that this is the team you support and the game you support.
"Bring along the family and friends so that they share in the excitement because rugby league is a passion worth sharing and nothing beats being at the game and feeling a part of your team."
The NRL season will kick-off with a blockbuster encounter between the Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra Dragons, as Wayne Bennett and Darius Boyd take on their former club for the first time at Hunter Stadium on Thursday, March 1.